These Are the 11 Biggest Lies and Myths About Weight Loss

Debunk one myth about weight loss and five more pop up in its place. We glean advice from friends, research dieting strategies on the ‘net, buy books, or listen to folks on TV tell us how to shed pounds, but how do you separate fact from fiction?

It’s hard, but it’s important to weed out the info that can sabotage your efforts instead of supporting them. Slimming down in a healthy way can be done if you know some basics. Let’s filter through some of the most common weight loss fables so you’ll know how to plan or retool your journey.

  1. You MUST Eat Less

    Pushing through pangs of hunger in order to lose weight fast is not the healthiest way to go about it. You’re in danger of missing out on nutrients, losing muscle, and sending your body into a state of stress.

    You may also fall into the trap of eating what you crave when you do eat, which can be high in sugar but low in nutrition. Eat smaller portions of healthy, protein-rich, whole foods so you’re getting what you need.

  2. When You Lose Weight, You Lose Fat

    That’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s water weight that’s being flushed out, giving you a false impression that you’ve permanently dropped those pounds.

  3. You Can Sweat it All Off

    This ties into the myth above. Working out, sauna time, and sweat-centered activities can help you drop weight, but it is often water weight that’s being shed. It’s easily added back on after you’ve eaten or drunk something high in sodium or water.

  4. Alcohol Messes Up Your Goals

    Yes, it is true that alcohol will add on extra calories, but you don’t have to completely cut it out. Cut your indulgence down for the week or switch to drink types that are low in carbs and sugars like light beers or dry wines.

  5. Eating No or Low Fat is Best

    Greasy foods or those high in saturated or trans fats are not your friends, but there are plenty of healthy fats that are good for you. They feed your brain, insulate your muscles and organs, and will make you feel fuller.

    Also, watch out for “low fat” marketing tricks that fool you into thinking certain items good for weight loss when they’re full of sugars and fillers.

  6. Exercise Guarantees Progress

    Just because you’re working your tail off in the gym doesn’t mean you don’t have to watch what you eat. Thinking “Oh, I’ll just burn it off later” can set you up for the wrong habits. Combine your physical activities with a diet plan that will help you reduce unhealthy calorie intake.

  7. Carbs are Bad

    We know diets filled with white bread, doughy foods, and calorie-deficient items like white rice aren’t good, but all carbs shouldn’t be classed together. While many do add to your waistline, healthy carbohydrates like fruit, whole grains, and beans can actually help you slim down.

  8. Late-Night Snacks are Bad Too

    You’ve heard it: don’t eat anything after 6 or 7 at night. This stems from the idea that metabolism slows down after hours, causing you to retain weight if you’re a late-night eater. It’s false. Just watch what you eat – no matter the time of day – so that you’re not eating refined sugars, junk, or processed foods.

  9. It’s All About the Calories

    It’s true that you want to burn calories to make progress, but much of that has to do with your metabolism versus the one chocolate chip muffin you ate for the whole day. You need food and nutritious calories in order to survive, so limiting calories can work against you.

    Try eating healthy foods that are in line with the daily amount of calories that someone your age and size needs. Good quality calories are better than bad quality ones.

  10. Detoxes and Supplements are All You Need

    There is no magic pill, powder, or cleanse that is guaranteed to work for you 100%. Watch out for products or gimmicks that promise to help you “melt fat” like a miracle. Although there are some that offer slight benefits, many of them are unsafe.

  11. Healthy Foods Cost Too Much

    Come on, you know that’s an excuse. A bag of dry legumes is how much? Doable. Water? Doable too. Frozen veggies and fruits are affordable, as are brown rice, a package of lean protein, and whole grain bread. When you cook your meals, you’ll find that you’re probably spending less than you do when buying processed foods or junk.

Have you fallen for some of these weight loss myths? What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned during your journey? What’s worked best for your body to maintain a healthy weight after losing pounds?


American Journal of Clinical Nutrition